Ah, retirement. Most everyone who isn't retired dreams of one day being able to hang it up. But executing on it when the time is right isn't as easy as it sounds. Whether you have been retired for a number of years or you are just now on the glide slope, there is much more than just money issues to contend with.
Regardless of where you are in the process, these 10 steps will help you ensure your retirement is successful and continues to set a strong foundation for the years to come.
1. Take Some Time to Unwind
Breathe. Don’t feel that you must have all of the details of the next 20 years mapped out exactly. Thinking that way will lead to unnecessary frustration and anxiety. The rest of the steps on this list will help you make good use of your time without feeling overwhelmed, so first take some time to relax. This applies to the new retiree but also a long-time retiree who has let their "retired life" get too busy as well.
2. Remember That Too Much Ease Can Lead to Dis-ease
Did you listen to step one? Great! Just don’t get too relaxed. Yes, it’s good to take it easy sometimes, but our bodies and minds are wired to be useful, so have things to do and see. Keep yourself engaged physically and mentally in activities you enjoy and that challenge you. Finding your balance between relaxation and action is key and you can do this one day at a time.
3. Find Your New Daily Routine
Determine what your daily routine will look like, because structure is important for everyone. You don’t have to plan out every moment of every day, but try to keep some things consistent. Wake up and go to sleep around the same time each day. Plan out some physical activity. Make time for your favorite things, and be deliberate about making these happen each day.
4. Talk to Your Spouse
Another thing you must be deliberate about is communicating with your spouse. You’ll both need to agree to the ground rules of being together for most of each day. You’d be surprised by how many couples skip this important step. Talking openly and making a plan together will help you both make the most of retirement.
5. Simplify Your Life
Don’t wait to downsize where you can. In my experience, clients who downsize find themselves freed up to do more with their retirement. You don’t have to spend time and money managing a house that has more space or stuff than you need. Often, fewer possessions mean less stress, so start reducing what you don’t need.
6. Invest in Your Health
Do what you can to keep yourself feeling healthy, so you can truly enjoy your retirement. Make healthy habits a part of that daily routine you’re creating, so you can stay physically and mentally strong. If you’re looking for ideas to keep you healthy during retirement, there are a number of resources online, and it’s always a good idea to discuss your health routines and plans with your doctor.
7. Write a “Look Forward To” List
Put together a “look forward to” list of things you want to do and see over the next 12 months. Imagine what you want your life to look like a year from now. What pictures will be in your photo album? What stories will you be telling your grandchildren? See if some of these ideas sound exciting!
8. Make Commitments
Make some commitments to things that are important to you and will give you a reason to work toward something. Find a cause or purpose that you care about and can devote time and energy to. This will have a positive impact on your community and you. There are even organizations looking specifically for volunteers ages 50 and older.
9. Create a Spending Plan
Decide how much you can comfortably spend without having to worry that you’ll run out of money. Tip, do this before you retire so it’s not an issue during retirement. You have not worked your whole life to spend your retirement stressed over finances. The reason I became a financial advisor was to help people avoid exactly this kind of anxiety.
10. Ask for Advice and Take Part in Community
Retirement can be daunting. Do not be afraid to reach out for help. I believe that staying active with a community of like minded thinkers that are in the same season of life as you is a wonderful thing. There is no need to be on an island all to yourself. We at Keen Wealth are focused on creating a community through our blogs, podcasts, educational events, and various causes we support throughout each year. We are honored to have you as a part of that community.
Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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